Today, the company's CEO, David S. Pottruck, resigned from his post under pressure from a board frustrated with his inability to deliver returns on major investments. Pottruck's m.o. was to make big purchases as a way to grow the company. In 1997, he headed the acquisition of U.S. Trust, a private bank, and last year spent $324 million to bring the research firm Soundview Technologies into the Schwab fold. Neither of these stanched a falling bottom line or stemmed pressure from competitors Etrade and Ameritrade who undercut Schwab in a business that, at its core, is really just a commodity, and not the something more Pottruck (and Schwab before him) hoped to create.
Now, the founder, Charles Schwab himself, will return to his original post. It's not uncommon for founders to return to the helm of the company they founded, but is it always a solution that works? What will Schwab bring to the post that a new CEO couldn't? Are founders able to make changes more easily than someone else?